Why did the postmaster speak of his family to Ratan?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Tagore's inclusion of the postmaster's sharing of information with Ratan brings out an important emotional dynamic of each character.  On one hand, the postmaster speaks of his family to Ratan to emphasize his own life.  The postmaster is shown as one who is precariously close to self- absorption.  The postmaster reminisces of his family in Calcutta to bring himself back into a world he covets more than Ulapur.  His speaking of his family to Ratan is the mere engagement of someone else into what he perceives to be his own joy, a life far away from what is.  

Yet, this inclusion of conversational material has an intriguing effect on Ratan. She internalizes his family as his own, as a reflection of her absorption into the postmaster.  Whereas the postmaster speaks of his family as his own, desiring for another person to see his happiness, Ratan almost escapes her own condition of misery into this being.  She refers to his mother and sister as her own.  Ratan, the orphan, engages his dialogue in the hopes of being an insider, as opposed to the perpetual outsider that she is.  It is in this where Ratan is seen as much more empathetic a figure than the postmaster.


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